WRECK  of  the  DANDY  TWEE  GEZUSTERS

SWANSEA  11 JANUARY  1887

 

The TWEE GEZUSTERS was a dandy-rigged vessel of just 63 tons registered at Bridgwater. She sailed from Lydney, Gloucestershire, on the morning of 8 January 1887 with a cargo of coal bound for Fremington, a creek near Barnstaple. Charles James of Gloucester was her master, Henry Hawkes, of Newquay, Cornwall the mate, and Sydney Wheeler of Bridgwater the third hand.

The vessel was fighting against a strong west wind and on the evening of Monday 10 January was off Morte Point, on the Devon coast, when the wind increased to a gale and she lost her jib and head sails. James decided to turn back to seek shelter at Ilfracombe but failed to make the harbour. He then shaped course for the shelter of Penarth Head but the wind went round to the south-west pushing the little craft north. James then altered course for Mumbles. They saw the light of the Scarweather light-ship and then that at Mumbles. But the weather was now very thick and they missed the anchorage of Mumbles roads and ran aground to the east of the entrance to Swansea docks soon after four o'clock on the morning of Tuesday 11 January.

Hawkes decided that his best bet was to get to the beach at once. He removed a hatch cover from the dandy, whose hull was now mostly submerged, and took off his boots and jacket. James and Wheeler were all the time trying to get him to stay aboard. Eventually Hawkes was persuaded and all three lashed themselves to the mizzen ratlins where they were drenched by icy spray and buffeted by the wind. Their plight was not seen until dawn. A boat put out from Swansea docks manned by pilots assistants John Beynon, David Owen, George Pritchard and George Fender.

After a struggle at the oars the boat got alongside the wreck. Hawkes was dead from exposure, but the other two were taken aboard. As the boat left the wreck it capsized flinging all six into the water. One regained the wreck and lashed himself to the jib-boom which was under water in the swells so that he could breath only in the troughs of the waves. The tugs Privateer, Times and Fawn came up in the nick of time and saved all six.